Archive for September, 2013

Spofforth Pinnacles

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

Being unable to give up on climbing outside in the evening a small group headed out of York to a beautiful (read: esoteric) corner of North Yorkshire, Spofforth Pinnacles. This is a local bouldering sport less than 30 minutes from York with a series of blocks scattered across a farmers field, each one accompanied by a friendly cow. Amongst other routes, Carmen and Simon did North West Arete on Tower Block whilst Rob and myself played on the Scoop. There's plenty of climbing to be done, perhaps with a top rope for some of the tougher routes. We managed several routes before the sun set and got to the pub before 9:00, even with a punctured car tyre.

A Wet Burbage North

Sunday, September 22nd, 2013

Not put off by the weather forecast Jamie and myself decided to brave Burbage North. The weather was lovely in York on Saturday morning and for the majority of the drive down. As soon as we were in sight of the crag the clouds descended and we found ourselves at a lovely damp crag. Not to be put off we decided on some routes, Ash Tree Crack and Ash Tree Wall, interesting choices given they're crack climbs and proved pretty interesting when attempting to jam in the damp confines! Moving up in the grades we moved onto Ring Climb, still damp but we managed to climb it. A few climbs completed and getting confident I decided that Hollyash Crack was on the cards, a lovely off width in the Knights Move area. At the crux I jammed at least 50% of my body into the off width section of the crack and started to perform my most elegant thrutch upwards. This didn't last long, within sight of a good hold the friction ran out and I slid all the way back to my former stance. Given my body was staring look and feel like I'd been wrestling the buttresses of Burbage rather than climbing them it was time to move on to something else! Jamie lead Sill Orange, a nice route with a the hardest moves saved for the final jamming crack, then Billberry Arete (not the Mod the other one, but easier than the S4b grade it gets), and the reachy Triangle Buttress Indirect.

A weekend of two halves

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

This weekend saw the traditional opener to the orienteering season – the Aire weekend in the Dales.

Saturday's weather could hardly have been better, with blue skies, sunshine, and a pleasant breeze. Having done no running for weeks due to various injuries, I decided to ease myself in gently by doing the longest hardest course available, Black. Expecting to come last, I surprised myself to finish 16th out of 18.

Today was not a good day to be out on the hills, so I decided in advance to go for the Blue course, at 5.7km. Of course when I arrived I found myself entering Short Brown instead, 7.1km. Oops. Most of the next 2 hours was spent wandering round in circles in zero visibility trying to work out which knoll in the sea of knolls was the right one. The answer was, none of them, I was 200m too far west. If this had been a mountain marathon I'd have liked the conditions, as it would have given me the chance of gaining a few places on the fell runners who can't navigate. However, being an orienteering event, there are shit-hot navigators all over the place, so in the end I finished a very wet 19th out of 20. But still did better than the 12 who dropped out without finishing!

Next it's the RAB mountain marathon, in 2 weeks time. Hope the weather's more like yesterday than today!


Thursday, September 5th, 2013

GowerAs usual, due to holidays, family commitments etc, the August Bank Holiday meet was rather short on numbers – just 4 of us (Peter, Annie, Carmen and me) made the drive down to South Wales.

ThrutchingAfter overnight rain, Saturday turned out to be a good sunny day, so we all headed to Fall Bay for some climbing. I was meant to be spectating having cracked a rib a week earlier, due to over-enthusiastic thrutching at Brimham. But of course my will power failed and I ended up following Carmen up an HVS and a couple of VSs, as well as leading a Diff myself (and backing off a severe). Peter led Annie up an awkward Severe gully, followed by a Diff and an HS.

White EdgeMore overnight rain was again replaced with sunshine. Peter and Annie went for a cycle around the peninsular (on road bikes for a change). Carmen and I did some more climbing. Highlight for me was leading White Edge (VDiff), a striking line up a hugely exposed arete, marred only by some loose rock. Carmen led another VS, I led an improbable looking Severe. We then finished off with Cave Traverse, a fine HS 4a which climbs a crack before traversing above lots of thin air for a scary finish; we then abbed back into the cave (by now cut off by the tide) to get our gear, and climbed out by a nice little Diff.

Cave TraverseMore sun on Monday, and while Peter and Annie went for a walk, it was more climbing for Carmen and me. We started at Paviland, where Carmen nicked the lead of East Gully Grooves (HVS) from me (well it was her birthday). Brilliant route, but horribly overgrown until half height. I led a fine VDiff slab, and we finished with a couple of routes at the scenic but crumbly Horses Cliff.

An excellent weekend, well worth the drive. The Gower's a good place to go, not quite as dramatic as Pembroke to the west, but more friendly, with most crags accessed by walking rather than abseils, and loads of fine climbs starting on sandy beaches. The club last went there 9 years ago – we'll try not to leave it so long before our next visit.

More photos here